Research shows that, when asked, 82% of people admit to being too busy most of the time. Actually, that’s a completely made-up stat, but I bet you believed it. You probably believed it because you consider yourself busier than you think you should be.
Whether that’s a good thing is another post entirely. For now, I want to introduce you to the six iOS mobile apps I use to create real opportunities to save time and be more productive every day.
If I analyzed everything I did during the day, I’d probably find out that I only have a few limited/fleeting minutes that I can use to read and post relevant content to social media. The last thing I want is for all my posts to go out during that small window of time and then never get read by anyone. Enter the wide, wide world of social media scheduling apps. I’ve tried Hootsuite and others, but at the end of the day Buffer is the easiest to use for scheduling out several posts on multiple social media accounts at once.
You can actually set up a posting schedule in Buffer and get alerts when you don’t have something scheduled. I never thought it was possible, but Buffer actually makes me a better user of social media, without having to try hard at all. I get to spend as little time as possible posting, yet reap all the benefits of spending the entire day scouring the internet for and sharing the best content.
Five Minute Journal
I started using the Five-Minute Journal because Tim Ferriss wouldn’t stop talking about it and because Starbucks offered it as a limited-time free download (yes, the app is a paid product). Like posting to social media, I only have so much time during the day to devote to journaling (which is honestly one of the most important parts of my daily routine). The method presented by the Five Minute Journal—which has you journal at the start and the end of your day—focuses your mind on three critical activities: gratitude, planning, and reflection.
Most importantly, the activities take less than a minute to complete in most cases, especially if you’ve been practicing for a while. These few moments deliver incalculable cognitive and productivity benefits for me every single day. Even if I miss a day, the habit that the journal helps you form make me consider gratitude organically, which makes me a more emotionally present person in the lives of those around me.
Overdrive and Hoopla
Before you download these and then tell me how much you actually hate them, know this: the app design and user experience for both of these are not great. In most cases, this would bother me. However, for Overdrive and Hoopla, the benefits significantly outweigh the headaches. These apps make it possible to consume an infinite amount of audiobooks and ebooks. The only caveat is that you’ll need to be a member of a library that offers these services. Check your local library to see if you have access to this and start reading as many books as you can, for free.
I didn’t intend to include apps from bigger companies like Google and Apple in this post. However, I can’t really deny the substantial influence Keep has on my day. Keep is not even in the ballpark of Google’s most popular apps. In fact, it’s ranked 37th among all other apps developed by Google in the App Store. Keep is a notetaking application, but it’s so much more than that. In just one tap, you can create different types of notes, including checklists and sketches. Your notes are visualized like sticky notes on a pin board, and you can rearrange them, color them, and pin the most used notes to the top.
Finding things to read and share can take as much time as you make it take. More specifically, if you have to spend a ton of time wading through insignificant crud on Twitter, that’s wasted time you could have spent reading something valuable. Feedly inspired me to pare down my news feeds to only the topics that I know will almost always deliver content that will help me. I have a goal to read and share a minimum is three articles daily on LinkedIn and Twitter. With Feedly (and Buffer) it takes less than 10 minutes a day to do this.
I’ve completely embraced the voice-based assistant trend. I wrote a post about this when I got my first smartwatch. A lot of you will read this and be like, “Ok dude, whatever,” but one of the most effective use cases for Hey Siri is when I need to write short notes or ideas and I don’t have the ability to open up a notes app or grab a pen and paper. Since ideas tend to happen when I’m least able to capture them, I just tell Siri to jot them down for me and then ask Siri to create a reminder to revisit the idea when i have free time.
I hope some of these apps will help you be a little more productive during your day so that you can focus on doing things of real value. If you have any apps that you’d recommend, I’d love to know. Share them with me on Twitter or in the comments.